Peaceful Assembly

Article 36 of the Lithuanian constitution states that “citizens may not be prohibited or hindered from assembling unarmed in peaceful meetings.” The law regulating assemblies is in line with the international standards. The organisers of protests of more than 10 people ought to notify the authorities in advance. The right to freedom of peaceful assembly can be limited when the security of the state or the rights of other persons are at stake. There are two somewhat nonstandard limitations put on the freedom of assembly: the protesters are prohibited from violating the “morals with their appearance or things they possess or demonstrate” and the are not to demonstrate soviet/communist/nazi symbols. Public opinion is divided on equal rights for LGBTI people, and this manifested itself in 2013 when a gay pride march was disrupted by counter-demonstrators. In the past, Lithuanian parliamentarians also tried to overturn a permit for the gay pride march, Baltic Pride, in the capital. Other recent protests concerned opposition to government plans to accept over 1,000 refugees in Lithuania, low milk prices and the proposed reduction of social benefits for employees. Although these protests were all well-policed, research in 2012 suggested a trend in Lithuania towards an increasingly authoritarian approach to the policing of ‘political’ protests, particularly those held in the wake of austerity measures. On the whole, mass protests are relatively infrequent in Lithuania.